First of all I want to say thank you to those, who commented on my last two blog entries. (I deleted the one about the flood. We are out of the woods, but many others are not.) It means a lot to me! It’s great to know that there are many people, who have the same thoughts about how veganism is sometimes represented.
Every year in spring I find our kitchen stuffed with rhubarb stalks. Rhubarb. Sour. Cumbersome. Has to be cooked. Weird name. What to do with it? The person who buys it, loves to cook it into compote. Unkind compote. Looks like they wanted to get rid of those sour stalks very fast. I am pretty sure the rhubarb was bought on impulse. Because rhubarb stalks at the grocery store mean spring. Warm April days. Sitting outside. As kids we stole rhubarb stalks from our uncle’s garden and then armed ourselves with a small plate full of sugar. We’d sit on the grass, dresses on, naked legs. And then we’d eat the sour stalks and crease our faces.
Those who lived in the countryside all have these memories of eating rhubarb in their gardens, enjoying the sun. We never had our own rhubarb stalks. We had no produce in our garden. Nobody in my family had a clue what to do with them. Our they probably just ignored them. But then we knew all those housewives, who had huge gardens and every produce you’d ever dream of. Of course they had rhubarb. And gooseberries. And every year we were invited by a family, a relative, a neighbour, who had made a rhubarb cake. And those cakes were sour. Just like the stalks. Just like the gooseberry cakes, which they would bake a couple of months later.
I know I am probably doing them wrong. I know my memory is betraying me. I am quite sure those cakes were delicious. But the problem is, I am not able to correct my memory. I do not live there anymore. Many of those women have died by now. Sometimes I wish I could go back and collect their recipes. But then I think I should simply start a new tradition. New memories. Next spring, when F. is old enough, we’ll go to the park. Armed with some rhubarb stalks and a bag of sugar. Then when we are tired of sitting in the sun creasing our faces, we will go home and bake a sweet and moist rhubarb cake. Just like this one:
Sweet and Moist Rhubarb Cake
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease and flour a 25 cm (10 inch) spring form pan.
For the rhubarb filling:
420 g (14 oz) sliced rhubarb
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the cake:
240 g (2 cups) flour
2 tablespoons chickpea flour*
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
60 g (1/4 cup) soy yoghurt
4 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
185 ml (3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) soy milk
For the crumb topping:
90 g (3/4 cup) flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
2.5 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 – 3/4 tablespoon soy milk (as needed)
* Chickpea flour and soy yoghurt together serve the same function as eggs: They bind and make the cake moist and fluffy. I know you can make great vegan cakes without these two, but I can almost never resist. If you do not have chickpea flour, substitute soy flour. If you don’t have either, you can leave it out. Maybe use cornstarch instead.
To prepare the filling:
Place rhubarb in a bowl, sprinkle with sugar and cornstarch, mix well and set aside.
To make the batter:
In a bowl sift together flour and chickpea flour. Add baking powder, salt, and sugar and mix well. In a second bowl mix together yoghurt, oil, vanilla and soy milk. Add wet to dry ingredients. Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Carefully sprinkle the rhubarb mixture on top and distribute the pieces evenly.
To prepare the crumb topping:
In a bowl mix flour, baking powder, and sugar. Add coconut oil and vanilla. Use your hands to form into crumbs. Add soy milk if too dry. Crumble over cake.
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes. Let cake sit in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan. Slice into 12 pieces.